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Top art: huts, bales and somehow assembled chairs...

27.08.2022

Text: Marina Alvitr


Top art: huts, bales and somehow assembled chairs...

Many people in Russia say that they are very tired of art "made of shit and sticks". And here you are, coming to Documenta 15, and all art here is just like that, made of shit and sticks. And this is the main exhibition that sets trends for 5 years! At first, I looked at all these chairs with boards nailed to them, an outright mess, dirty huts with sadness, and thought: "What the hell is that!" All this was combined with conversations about the fate of the planet, how to find a way out of crises and build a new society. Somehow I got sad, and asked my friend: "So what? Why do such discussions need to be held necessarily in such an environment? With no comfort at all?" However, he calmed my whining: "Why not? Nothing distracts you from the discussion. In an expensive hotel, you would complain that the coffee is tasteless. You are capricious..." And then I wondered how a hotel differs from a tent.

The process is not the result! The main thing is not to mix up…

After the conversation, I remembered how I recently went to an exhibition of unofficial art in Lithuania. It was a brilliant move of the curators to place the exhibits in the post office building, built in Soviet times. There I physically felt how the space itself doesn't allow me to think freely: narrow corridors that are replaced by small rooms and there are many of them, you move from one to another. In this space, you yourself become small and lost. There is simply no strength to come up with something.

In the Documenta space, everything is the opposite: the halls are large, the objects are often arranged chaotically, nothing is finished, nothing is definite. This is the space of the creative process. One object turns into another one, some diagrams on the wall as if left over from the brainstorming of the project team. We see not only finished works of art but also how they were created. Periodically, you can see groups of people discussing something. Visual artworks are mixed with individual phrases, thoughts, and statements. Often these are not artworks, but practices to expand consciousness. Yes, it's unsettling, and you either mentally clean up and find something of your own, or you wonder at the combinations: why could it be so? The brain learns to think freely. The space encourages action, not static and contemplation. And this is exactly the effect that the curators sought. No need to try to say anything complete if you're still looking. "Search with us, act," the …

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